{Zippy Bags} Tracing a Pattern with the Silhouette Cameo

ChristyNeedlecrafts, Sewing, Tutorials3 Comments

Zippety Bag Open Flat 2 | www.inklingsandyarns.com

In the two years since I started sewing, I’ve amassed quite the collection of cosmetic bags. But this one just might be my favorite.

Zippety Bag by Bella Nona | www.inklingsandyarns.com

The pattern is #187, Zippety Bags, by Bella Nonna, and it comes with templates for 5 different sized bags, from little coin purse to big makeup bag.

Zippety Bag Top View | www.inklingsandyarns.com

I think the design is adorable, and the best part is that they unzip completely flat, so you can store them easily when not in use.

Zippety Bag Flat 1 | www.inklingsandyarns.com

The hardest part is cutting the fabric…unless you have a Silhouette Cameo. I scanned my pattern and turned each template into a cut file using the Silhouette Studio software.

Step 1: Scan your pattern. Since everyone’s scanners are different, I can put specific instructions here. Make sure you scan each page as a separate document, and save as a jpg.

Step 2: Open your scanned image with Silhouette Studio.

File > Open > navigate to your scanned jpg file.
Open Scanned File in Silhouette Studio | www.inklingsandyarns.comYour software will open a new file with the title of your scanned image. This page of the pattern has templates for 2 bags on it, so we’ll trace both.
Step 3: Click the butterfly icon on the top right of your screen:
Trace Button in Silhouette Studio | www.inklingsandyarns.comThis opens the Trace Window. Click “Select Trace Area” at the top of the window. Your cursor will turn into a crosshair. Click and drag a rectangle around the entire area that you want to trace.Set Trace Area in Silhouette Studio | www.inklingsandyarns.com
The trace area will be gray, and you’ll see a yellow fill around the lines of your image.
Step 4: Play with the four sliders under “Trace Settings” until the yellow evenly covers your cut lines. You have to play around here, as the settings will be a little different for everyone. Just drag the sliders back and forth until you have something that looks like this:
Trace Settings in Silhouette Studio | www.inklingsandyarns.com Step 5: Click “Trace Outer Edge.” Your gray box will disappear and you’ll have a thin red line around everything like this:
Pattern Traced in Silhouette Studio | www.inklingsandyarns.comThat’s the cut line!
Step 6: Clean up your cut line. First click and drag your original image away, or just delete it. You don’t need it anymore. Pattern Cut Lines in Silhouette Studio | www.inklingandyarns.comThen, zoom in on your cut lines using the magnifying glass icon at the top of your screen (just to the left of the middle). You’ll see a few bumps and humps in your cut line, for example where it traced around extra markings in the pattern.
Uneven Tracing in Silhouette Studio | www.inklingsandyarns.comOpen the “Edit Points” tool (second from the top on the left side).Edit Points Button in Silhouette Studio | www.inklingsandyarns.com
When you click the Edit Points icon, then click directly on the red cut line, you’ll see a bunch of little gray dots on your cut line. These points represent everywhere the line changes direction.
Show Points in Silhouette Studio | www.inklingsandyarns.com
For a simple shape like this, most of the smoothing can be done by deleting unneeded points.
Delete Points in Silhouette Studio | www.inklingsandyarns.comJust click on one of the jagged points and it will turn white. Click “Delete Points” to make it go away. You may have to delete several points in a row in order for a line to smooth out. If you delete too many, just hit undo. For more information about Editing Points in my tutorial on tracing a photo.
Smoothing Lines in Silhouette Studio | www.inklingsandyarns.comOnce your cut line is smoothed to your liking, you’re ready to cut! Pretty easy, right?
But wait! The templates for 3 of the bags in this pattern are cut in half! What do you do with those? We just need to add a couple more steps.
2 Part Pattern in Silhouette Studio | www.inklingsandyarns.com
Open your scanned image (or images) of one of the larger bags, just like you did in steps 1-5. Now, when you click “Trace Outer Edge” you’ll notice something different.
Double Trace Lines in Silhouette Studio | www.inklingsandyarns.com
Because the pattern is cut in half it’s not a closed shape, so Silhouette studio wants to trace all the way around the solid lines, basically giving you 2 cut lines. It also traces all of the junk like the dotted lines and writing on the page, which we obviously don’t need. So, we need to do a little doctoring before we can join up the 2 halves.
Step 5A: Open the Eraser Tool. It’s the funky little rectangle icon about half way down on the left side.
Silhouette Studio Eraser Tool | www.inklingsandyarns.com
If you have the Designers Edition, you’ll get a dialogue box on the right that allows you to change the size and shape of your eraser, and options for “Solid” and “Outline.” Make sure “Outline” is selected.
Step 5B: Zoom in to the ends of the solid line part of the pattern, and delete just a tiny piece to separate the inner and outer cut lines. I zoomed way in so you can see how you want to make each end 2 distinct lines rather than one continuous one.
Erasing Ends in Silhouette Studio | www.inklingsandyarns.com2 Cut Lines in Silhouette Studio | www.inklingsandyarns.com
Do this to both ends of the cut lines and both halves of the pattern.
Erasing Other End in Silhouette Studio | www.inklingsandyarns.com
Step 5C: Click on the selection tool (the arrow at the top left), and then click directly on the inner cut line of one of your shapes. Hit delete. Now do the same with the other half. You now have 1 cut line for each half of the pattern.
Highlight and Delete Inner Cut Line in Silhouette Studio | www.inklingsandyarns.com
One Cut Line in Silhouette Studio | www.inklingsandyarns.comGo ahead and delete all of the other junk cut lines so that we’re just dealing with the 2 pattern halves.
Two halves of cut file in Silhouette Studio | www.inklingsandyarns.com
Step 5D: Drag the 2 halves of the pattern together until the ends match up. It may not be a perfect fit, in which case you can use the “Edit Points” tool to move the ends together until they match. Now you can also proceed to step 6 and clean up any jagged edges in your cut line.
Match Halves of Pattern in Silhouette Studio | www.inklingsandyarns.com
Step 7: Once the two pieces fit together, select them both (Control+A to select all) and then go to the “Object” menu and click “Group.”

Select All in Silhouette Studio | www.inklingsandyarns.comGroup Image in Silhouette Studio | www.inklingsandyarns.comGrouped in Silhouette Studio | www.inklingsandyarns.com

Finally, drag and rotate the shape until it fits on your cut mat.
Rotate using green dot in Silhouette Studio | www.inklingsandyarns.com
And once again, you’re ready to cut! This is a great method to use for any sewing pattern with small, difficult to cut pieces. As long as it’s under 12×24 inches, you can scan it and cut it with the Cameo! It’s especially nice when you want to make several of the same item for gifts or party favors.  You know I’m always looking for ways to avoid using scissors!

Zippety Bag Open | www.inklingsandyarns.com

I hope you found this tutorial useful. If you liked it, please do me a favor by pinning it. 


3 Comments on “{Zippy Bags} Tracing a Pattern with the Silhouette Cameo”

  1. Kate

    Thank you so much for this very detailed tutorial. I have been on a steep learning curve since getting my Silhouette Cameo in December and tracing has been a sticking point for me. You have given me a lot to go on. Thanks again!

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